Swanson: No, Not Liking Black Panther doesn’t Make You a Racist

Swanson: No, Not Liking Black Panther doesn’t Make You a Racist

By Gavin Swanson, Opinion Writer

It kind of makes me upset that this is an attitude that has been accepted and embraced. Marvel’s “Black Panther” has been far and away one of the most hyped up releases of 2018. With the announcement of a primarily black cast, the movie set in Africa and Kendrick Lamar along with the rest of Top Dawg Entertainment taking the reigns for the soundtrack, it’s easy to see the appeal. In a Hollywood scene where there has been a large outcry about a lack of diversity and representation, “Black Panther” is a very important movie, especially for the black community.

By and large, the movie has lived up to the hype. As of the writing of this article it holds an astonishing 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and held a remarkable box office opening weekend, pulling in $201.8 million. However, there are still people who saw the movie and left underwhelmed, something that can be expected from any given movie. This should be a given and something that everybody accepts. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case with comic book movies anymore. People have begun brushing off negative criticism of “Black Panther” as racism and intolerant of the black cast and motifs.

A similar occurrence took place with DC movies. When movies like “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” were released to universal critical panning, fans of the movie simply attributed it to the world riding on the coattails of Marvel and being intolerant of anything DC would ever put out. It’s not the fact that these were perhaps, y’know, bad movies — it was simply the fact that these movies weren’t Marvel movies, so it became the mission of every critic to conspire against DC and rate the movies poorly. Luckily, this nonsensical claim met its end when “Wonder Woman” received positive acclaim. However, this claim of ulterior motives with opinions on movies is just as ridiculous here as it is in 2018 with “Black Panther.”

Liking or not liking a movie doesn’t automatically assign you to a team. It’s not a matter of if you’re okay with black people being in a movie or not. It’s not a matter of whether you like Marvel superheroes or DC superheroes more. It’s a matter of whether or not you liked a movie or not. Sure there will be some people who like or dislike a movie based on arbitrary factors, but that doesn’t set the standard for everybody. People want to see a superhero movie for fun, not for some alternative agenda. If you want to celebrate it for its diversity I have no qualms with that, but I personally don’t understand the appeal in what “Black Panther” has to offer. Other than its cast and setting, it acts as just another superhero movie. Movies like “12 Years a Slave” and “Moonlight” also feature primarily black actors and managed to win Best Picture. “Moonlight” even featured gay black characters as the focus.

As for my personal opinion of “Black Panther,” I understand that it’s not exactly my cup of tea. It just acts as another Marvel movie to be consumed. It’s a movie produced to sell as many action figures and theater tickets as possible. I personally won’t see it again unless friends want to. If you like it and enjoy it, power to you. Don’t let me stop you from enjoying something you like. Don’t brand people for not liking a movie you loved. It’s incredibly childish and takes enjoyment away from something that was made to give people pleasure.